May 12 marked the completion of construction at the $42 million facility, funded by Carnival Cruise Lines, which includes a tourism village packed with shops and restaurants, one of the largest pools in the Caribbean, and an 800-ft. stretch of beach. A steel drum band played to celebrate the occasion with Carnival's Elation as a backdrop.
But those weren't the only sounds to be heard on Grand Turk. Friday's festivities also marked the launch of an industry first -- the Cruise Center's very own FM radio station. GT Cruise FM, located at 97.1 on the dial, began broadcasting on Friday in conjunction with the grand opening. The station will offer a mix of Caribbean music, Grand Turk news, weather updates, information on shore excursions and an overview of the island's history (now you can get your "enrichment" without ever leaving your beach blanket).
Reception will be available through any FM radio, and cruisers who aren't traveling with personal radios (such as a Sony Walkman) will be able to purchase portable headsets at one of the shops in the tourism village; a Carnival spokesperson tells us the price will likely be under $5. The station will only broadcast when ships are in port, and the signal will be available at the Grand Turk Cruise Center and in surrounding areas. Though capabilities exist to broadcast the station over PA systems and onboard (on the Lido, for example), for now it will just be left to those who choose to listen.
The Grand Turk Cruise Center will host more than 130 port calls this year from Elation and Noordam, as well as Princess Cruises' Crown Princess and Costa Cruises' CostaMagica.